ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s something we may take for granted: Mail delivery.
With the pandemic, mail carriers have seen more packages come through than ever. It’s a thankless and demanding job as some mail carriers walk miles a day, carrying heavy packages to keep the mail flowing.
National Thank a Mail Carrier Day is Friday, Feb. 4, and there’s a special community champion who not only delivers mail, but positivity to the community he serves.
“I walk 14 miles a day. Over 21,000 steps,” Dennis Winston said.
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Winston is 48 years old and has been working for the U.S. Postal Service for more than 20 years. Rain or shine, he is on the street making sure the mail gets delivered.
“I never saw myself as a mailman, but I never knew what it entailed. I didn’t realize I was going to interact with so many people and become friends with people I’ve met. It’s fantastic. Now I wouldn’t trade it, I’m good,” Winston said.
And his customers in the Colonialtown neighborhood love to brag about him.
“He works his fanny off and walks all the time, no matter the weather. He always has a positive word, always a smile,” Lisa Singleton said.
He even goes above and beyond his mail carrier duties.
“He’s tall, so sometimes I’ll ask him to do a couple things for me. It’s very appreciated. I had Christmas lights that I couldn’t reach and he quickly got them down for me, very nice,” Nina Vu said.
The community even took to Facebook, giving Winston a shoutout on the Colonialtown community Facebook page last year.
Neighbor Sara Jiminez posted a photo of Winston delivering mail on his birthday, calling him the “best mailman in the whole world.” The post received dozens of comments.
“Next thing I know, everybody’s walking down the street, ‘Happy Birthday, Dennis.’ Some people driving by that I didn’t even know saying, ‘Hey Dennis,’” Winston said. “I was cheesing ear-to-ear like a Cheshire Cat. Very humbling.”
Winston said it’s his customers who motivate him to continue his job that can get demanding at times.
“You get 30 minutes for lunch and two 10-minute breaks. I always carry gallons of water to stay hydrated,” Winston said.
Walking miles a day and lifting heavy packages to keep the mail flowing.
“I love what I do. Not many people can say they love their job. The person that loves what they do, it’s not work. It’s not really hard work for me, I love what I do,” Winston said.
Winston’s work spreads well beyond the community. Before becoming a mail carrier, he served in the U.S. Army.
“In the Army, they emphasize paying attention to detail. I pay attention whether it’s my customers mail. Sometimes people would address customers mail wrong, and I’m sure to take a look and let the customer know,” Winston said.
Being a mail carrier may be a thankless job, but there is a simple way to show appreciation.
“Thank you, I love you and keep carrying on,” Singleton said.
“Thank you Dennis, you’re superb,” Vu said.
“Just a kind word is enough for me. That’s free. It costs you nothing to be nice. Some people get frustrated, and once you explain why the mail’s late, most people generally understand. Just be kind,” Winston said.